Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day...

a day to have fun (run):

(He came 118th out of ~1, 890....beep beep - yeah!)

a day to see mum (in-law):

and a day in the sun (and surf):

Saturday, April 25, 2009


- I did indeed love (every) a piece of it!

However, it is abit of a relief to be back home, not only to be back at Blogger HQ and to sleep on my own firm mattress but also to see my husband ;-)

I have had a great time in Melbourne, Knoxfield to be precise, learning about a particular group of bacteria (Xanthomonads for those of you playing at home) from a world renowned 'expert'. Moreover, I've enjoyed the welcome cool temperatures and lack of humidity in Victoria - sweet relief!! However, two weeks is abit too long to be with one group of people, in a hotel without consistent internet (Oh the woes!) and punishing my back with a terribly soft sunken-mattress each night.

Top 5 Melbourne highlights:

1) The weekend spent with my husband in Melbourne!

- catching a comedy act as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival (we wanted to see Danny Boy or the guy Amos but ended up with Reginald D. Hunter instead)

- eating my way around the arcades and hidden laneways of Melbourne aka: Cafe heaven! ( I recommend Koko Black chocolates and "Little cupcakes" cafe's highly!!)

- spending time with Andrew's friend and Melbournite- Kerryn, who once again showed us some hidden gems! i.e roof-top restaurants and cosy art-deco inspired bars with terrific views over the Yarra.

2) Cold weather and NO HUMIDITY!

- although a downside here is the necessity for moisturizer! Not having a facial regime of any sort (see previous posts about horrified beauticians who have had to deal with my ravaged facial waste-land) I realised with pimple-ridden shock, the need to keep up moisturer on a twice-daily basis.

3) Catering

- an unexpected perk of the course! We were provided with sumptuous morning and afternoon teas along with lunch!! My food baby is now in his 7 month and growing well....

4) Autumn leaves!

- the joy of actually getting distinct seasons! Glorious red-leaves on chestnut trees and the the vines in the vineyards were also changing colour....which leads me onto...

4a) Yarra valley!

- hmm we may have had a daytrip as part of 'work'.....what stunning countryside! (wine tasting? ofcourse not!;-)

5) Meeting great people

- in particular one girl, Rachael, whom I really had a blast with on the course - and who plays a mean air-guitar rendition of "Pathogen City" (sad sad scientist nerds that we are)...

and the pictorial highlights in no particular order:

My partner in crime, and much hilarity - Rachael - looking sterotypically 'scientific'

Trying to stifle a laugh as I pose 'thoughtfully' as we inspect our diseased plants on the course. The 'expert' (inverted commas!) lecturer flown from US is at the front.

The great 'Birds of Prey' show at Healesville Sanctuary
(visted as part of a 'sample collection' trip).

The raptor here could break the egg using a small stone in his beak! First hit! This isn't a learned behaviour ie. trick - it's genetic! Amazing.

The stunning countryside of the Yarra Valley
(taken from a vineyard as part of the same 'sample collection' trip)

The view from a great bar in Federation Square overlooking the Yarra

and the view from the other end of the bar looking back towards the city!

I not only felt but saw the signs of autumn all around! Beautiful!

Two loved up types in the botanical gardens....

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bake off!

Something's going on this week and I'm as confused as my poor dishpan-hands-husband as to how it started!

Sunday - exhausted from the remainder of the cold that is still hanging on for grim death - I decided to bake. And I haven't stopped since!

I remember a friend of mine, Min, once mentioned the 'nesting' feeling expectant mothers experience close to the time of delivery. If that's the case, then I have a food baby that's about to be delivered!!

So the menu this week:

Sunday - melting moments
(for work morning tea - the stakes have been upped in the snack department with the arrival of our new entomologist who buys something for us all to share each week. Well two can play that game sonny!)

Monday - macaroons
(in-laws dropping round may have been a prompt - look how well I look after your son! Every day is baking day here! etc.)

Tuesday - chicken casserole and tropical dessert
(Niti came round for dinner so I love a chance to try new recipes)

Wednesday - break!
(Hey, it was Farmer Wants a Wife!)

Thursday - orange and poppyseed cake
(for bible study group)

Friday etc.....Enough is enough! I think I've reached my peak for one week!

p.s. I'm not hormonal either, my only explanation is the weather. Perhaps it's the flo(ur)ers! :-P

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sing low, Sweet Shuffler...

The other day, at Bible Study....

There was talk of a non-biblical nature about the songs of our generation. A member of the group was playing the piano for a church event and was bemoaning the repetoire to be sung. Which then beggered the question -

"When we're all old (in nursing homes)- what songs would we sit around and have a 'sing-along' too?"

That question came to mind the other (other) day as I listened to the radio while driving home from work and concurrently taking my blood pressure measurements for the third time, to dissuade myself of the notion that blood could physically boil! Oh yes, you'd be surprised by the things I carry in that home/garbage facility-on-wheels!

I imagined a nursing home with the chintz recliners all arranged in a semi-circle around the piano in anticipation for a night of reminiscing. An arthritically-affected, folically-challenged old man leaning precariously over the piano keys then begins manically pelting away in-time to a JT classic of our youth! The cracked voices from the recliners all raise in choral carcaphony to the strains of,"I'll make you believe in love and sex and magic"....ah sweet innocent days of yesteryear!

My goodness, all the songs I hear nowadays (you know you're getting old when you use a term like nowadays) I don't believe could even be played on a piano! Aghast I thought - we've sunk the sing-along! Banished by the gen-X'ers and the synthetic computer gen-Aters!

Would we have our own X-gen sing-along game instead perhaps?

The scene then shifted to our nursing home's open-plan, semi-partitioned living space. Twenty to thirty year old looking lads and ladettes with arthritically -affected hands laze on swedishly-designed and chinese-made imported bean bags, around the "NewGen Shuffleupagus 7000". All jostle to be first to sing along to the randomly-shuffled selection of greatest hits from the 01's - on voice-activated, camera-captured, siren-simulated and fast-tracked direct from the US - karoke. The sing-along of our generation - everyone's a sing-star - Karoke!

Alternatively, with our disdain for social interaction inbred since Facebook, we would twitter our current bed-ridden status for the 50th time that day to our fellow twits. To accomodate our bed-ridden state we would therefore not even have to leave the comfort of our automated existences. Instead, programming a virtual sing-along experience in a social-networking cyber sense, as we downloaded an 'app' on our lap to 'Rate our Sing-Stardomness'!

Ah for those melodic strains's a long way to Tipp-er-ary, it's a long way to go.....

sent from an i-dont-phone

(by a Facebook obsessed, computer addict :-P )

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An unexpected delight...

I have to admit, we should be at the Heidari's tonight, but in a blessed piece of 'luck' (thank you Lord!) - they weren't at home when we duely arrived at 7pm.

So as an unexpected delight - we have a night at home and a chance to cook a proper meal (not the usual late wed-night pizza!).

It feels bad to be rejoicing in not seeing people you actually like and whom I imagine rarely get visitors....anyway...

How is everyone?!

I realised that once I'd done those past two month reviews I sort of lost steam and never came back! Now March is upon us and I haven't even blogged once during February! I know, I know - the heaven's haven't collapsed yet, but it's a bit of a worry that my attention span is so short!

February was a bit of a blur but I do remember a lovely Valentine's Day spent at a French restaurant in Flaxton (near Mapleton in the moutains around the sunshine coast). I also remember a truly stupendous dessert for said restaurant which consisted of five 'samples' of each dessert listed on the menu. It included a creme brulee, a profiterole, a poached peach, fruit (which I did eat!) and a chocolate cake. Oh my!!! That on top of the snails for entree and the duck leg for main! I'm such a glutton - french through and through then!!!

Talking about food - drool - we've discovered a fantastic cafe in New Farm! I love hunting out great eats especially on a lazy Sunday (I don't know why those tops no longer fit really - clothes sizes these days aren't what they claim ;-) ). This cafe, is "Au Cirque" on Brunswick St and is DIVINE! Reasonably priced, great service and the food is so flavoursome and fresh! If you had to classify it I would say the food is french-australian. The only downside is the small size of the place which means quite literally an 'intimate' dining experience (not necessarily a downside if you enjoy a good eavesdrop and a laugh).

Hold those salivating horses Jen I'm going off track.....

- we watched Dad stare at the same four walls for another month which creep ever more sedantly towards completion. You can't rush a master - or my father!

- Andrew's work continued to dry up to the point where his hours have now been cut back. We are the lucky ones though at least I am still employed (woohoo for public service security) and Andrew is okay for the moment.

- my godmother had some major mental illness issues which has affected not only herself but her friends, especially my mother who had to admit her to hospital. Things are on the improve though but your prayers would be appreciated!

- my DNA sequencing work progressed with one step forward and two in opposite directions (the way of science - one way works which then opens up more avenues to explore!). I am loving having the opportunity to do some research (shhh) and making a worthwhile contribution to the job.

And now March has marched right on has my dinner.
Time to eat again!

life, it's uncertain,
eat dessert first!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Let's recap....January

Dad continued work on our "Great Wall of China" downstairs....
Price of materials: $2K+, Price of labour: $0 (and a few dinners), Watching Dad's dedication to building the strongest and most perfectly braced laundry/cyclone shelter known to man - Priceless!!!

Our beautifully handcrafted leadlight window was installed in the toilet (original design and work by Dad). Best seat in the house! Dad comes up every visit to admire his work ;-)
He is now trying to persuade us to think of a design for another window - our home will soon be a showcase to Dad's leadlighting passion! What have we started!!!!!

We celebrated New Year's with Anna, Adele and Adele's sister's family at Rainbow Beach. Blistering heat, fighting a flu but an otherwise great time away with lots of sand, surf and Israeli dead-sea mud madness. Adele's sisters' two children, Sam and Zoe were absolutely gorgeous and Sam took a particular shine to Andrew - jokingly referred to during our stay as his 'best bud'.

Three members from our afghani refugee family became AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS on Australia Day! The two sisters: Roya and Nasimeh and brother: Akbar. What better way to celebrate Australia day than seeing the two girls take their oaths, as we 'renewed' ours :-)
Just wonderful to see them so happy and feel a sense of belonging at last! They have and continue to have, an amazingly inspiring journey. A real lesson to us all in how they handle every hurdle with such courage and thankfullness! (yes that's Premier Anna Bligh with the two girls).

Andrew and I returned to work after a relaxing 2 week christmas break. A few weeks back at work and I was then off down to Melbourne for a week, to get to know all-things Phytoplasma related (they are bacterial like organisms which cause disease in plants - just look at the red leaves at the top of your pointsettia plants for an example or these grapevines).

A re-Juvenating January full of joyous laughter and new horizons...

Let's recap... December

We had a christmas party - and it was good fun to see everyone and share a bit of christmas spirit!

"We" won the office christmas decorating competition (Vanessa my boss did all the work)! Our theme: Calvin and Hobbes inspired (ofcourse) "The Twelve Treatments of Christmas". The 'treatments' related to AQIS approved means of eradicating diseased or pest ridden items that we gamma irradiation (see example below), Methyl Bromide fumigation for insects, Heat Treatment etc...

I had great fun decorating the house and tree for week to put up, one hour to pull down :-)

Our respective families had a joint christmas at my parents place.

A Delightful December full of sharing and rejoicing..